Mi Teleférico

27
Mar

2017

La Paz-El Alto: Two More Cable Transit Lines Set to Open in 2017

Orange-Line-White-Line-Mi-Teleferico

The 2.6km Orange Line and 2.8km White Line will be Mi Teleferico’s 5th and 6th urban cable cars. Image by Mi Teleferico.

For Gondola Project readers and La Paz-El Alto residents, the recent inauguration of the Blue Line (Spanish: Línea Azul) is probably still very fresh in mind.

While the excitement has barely subsided, it might be easy to forget that the Blue Line is just the first of three Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) systems that are scheduled to open this year in the world’s highest metropolis.

Based on online reports, the Orange Line (Spanish: Línea Naranja) and White Line (Spanish: Línea Blanca) are both planned for inauguration by October and December respectively.

The Orange Line will travel in an east-west alignment and will connect to Red Line’s eastern terminus (Central) and the White Line’s northern terminus (Villaroel). From Villaroel, the White Line will travel in a north-south configuration with future integrations to the Brown Line (Spanish: Línea Café) and the Sky Blue Line (Spanish: Línea Celeste).

The opening of the Orange and White Line will create an integrated transport experience from El Alto to Miraflores/San Jorge in La Paz. Image by Mi Teleferico.

The opening of the Orange and White Line will create an integrated transport experience from El Alto to Miraflores/San Jorge in La Paz. Image by Mi Teleférico.

At the start of the month, the Orange Line’s electromechanical components being manufactured in Doppelmayr’s Austrian headquarters were reportedly fully built with 85% of the parts already shipped to La Paz. For the civil works, 40% is already completed while 2 of the 4 stations are 80% finished. For the White Line, the system is now more than 60% complete as of last month with 100% of the electromechanical equipment already mounted.

Central Station (dated Feb 2017). By SSC user Massaff.

The Orange Line’s Central Station (dated Feb 2017) will be integrated with the the Red Line (seen on the right). Image by SSC user Massaff.

The 2.8km White Line will travel along Busch Av with 133 cabins, providing a trip time of 13 minutes. Image from Mi Teleferico.

The 2.8km White Line will travel along Busch Av with 133 cabins, providing a trip time of 13 minutes. At the Villaroel terminal, it will also feautre the world’s first below grade urban gondola station. Image by Mi Teleférico.

At 2.6km and 2.8km respectively, the Orange Line and White Line can be considered “mid-sized” systems. Compared to the other existing urban gondolas in La Paz, the average length is ~3.7km. In terms of stations, both the upcoming systems should have fairly large catchment areas as they are built with 4 stations each — thereby putting it on par with the Green Line and Yellow Line which also have 4 stations per line.

While both these new CPT systems are impressive, one of the most exciting aspects of these 2017 projects relate to the network effects of connecting four urban cable lines together (Blue Line, Red Line, Orange Line and White Line).

Riders will be able to travel on a near seamless journey onboard 12.8km urban gondolas from the bustling markets in El Alto to the boroughs of Miraflores/San Jorge in La Paz in approximately 60 minutes.

All in all, before the end of 2017, more than 10km of new CPT lines will soar above La Paz-El Alto, making it one of, if not the busiest year of urban cable car construction in the City. The incredible pace of construction and the large volumes of passengers transported on Mi Teleférico demonstrates once again that ropeway technology is more than capable of functioning reliability and efficiently in an urban mass transit environment.

And when 2017 is in the books, the dizzying implementation speed of La Paz-El Alto’s transport plans will continue for at least 2 more years. By 2019, the full build out of the world’s largest urban gondola network is expected to reach more than 33km in length!

 

 

07
Mar

2017

Blue Line (Línea Azul) Transports 41,000 Passengers In One Day

Blue Line (Línea Azul). Image by Mi Teleférico.

Blue Line (Línea Azul). Image by Mi Teleférico.

La Paz-El Alto’s newest Cable Propelled Transit (CPT) system, the Blue Line (Línea Azul), opened for passenger service last Friday and has already surpassed initial projections during its maiden voyage. During the weekend, the urban cable car hit a peak day ridership of 41,000 persons and has directly boosted passenger levels on the Red Line (Línea Roja) by 15%.

At this rate, the Doppelmayr-built Blue Line may likely add 20,000 – 40,000 daily passengers to the entire Mi Teleférico network each day — thereby single-handedly increasing overall network ridership by up to 50% from current passenger numbers (existing: 80,000 – 100,000 daily riders).

Locals came out in droves to be the first ones to experience the Blue Line (Línea Azul). Image by Bolivia Sigue‏.

Locals came out in droves to be the first ones to experience the Blue Line (Línea Azul). Image by Bolivia Sigue‏.

A cursory analysis and comparison of La Paz to other rapid transit lines in North America indicates that only five other light rail systems (i.e. Calgary, Toronto, Guadalajara, Boston, Los Angeles) would have a higher daily ridership than Mi Teleférico.

Arguably, since Toronto’s “light rail system” is really more a “streetcar” network, this means that only four North American LRT systems see larger daily ridership figures. However, it is important to keep in mind that these light rail networks are 60-650% longer than Mi Teleférico and have up to 4.5x more stations.

From an average daily boardings per mile perspective, this is where the La Paz-El Alto’s system truly shines. Mi Teleférico on average transports ~13,000 – 15,000 passengers/mile. Compared to North American LRTs, La Paz would rank 2nd after Mexico’s Guadalajara Light Rail. And if La Paz was measured against all rapid transit systems in North America, Mi Teleférico would actually break the top ten list, ranking 9th just ahead of Santo Domingo’s metro line!

Passenger Boardings Per Mile (North America and La Paz)

SystemCountryLength (miles)Year OpenedStationsLinesAvg Daily Boarding Per Mile
New York City SubwayUSA23219044682439,055
Mexico City MetroMexico14119691951230,603
Montreal MetroCanada43196668429,390
Toronto SubwayCanada42.4195469425,785
Monterrey MetroMexico20199131224,984
Panama MetroPanama8.5201413121,176
PATHUSA13.8190813518,167
Guadalajara Light RailMexico14.9198929217,790
Mi TeleféricoBolivia9.3201416413,000 - 15,000
Santo Domingo MetroDominican Republic17200930210,461

Note: Guadalajara Light Rail added to Wikipedia’s “List of North American rapid transit systems by ridership” in table above to allow for comparison of all rapid transit and not just Metro systems.

 

Some readers will likely argue that these are unfair comparisons since the landscape and modal split for North American and South American cities are different. While this might be true to a certain degree, this brief analysis reinforces that urban cable transit is no longer a fringe technology that’s incapable of operating as a reliable mass transit system.

On the contrary, Mi Teleférico demonstrates that when properly implemented, urban gondolas can quickly enhance and complement existing public transit networks.

Cultural celebrations took place at the Blue Line's western terminus, Wana Jawira, on March 3, 2017. Image by Bolivia Sigue.

Cultural celebrations took place at the Blue Line’s western terminus, Wana Jawira, on March 3, 2017. Image by Bolivia Sigue.

With this fantastic reception, manager of the state-owned ropeway system reiterated that the entire urban gondola network has achieved economic self-sufficiency — a goal rarely achieved by mass transit systems. Overall, as the city’s transport system modernizes, officials are diligently monitoring the system’s performance to ensure maximum reliability, safety and comfort.

 

 

03
Mar

2017

La Paz Opens City’s Longest Mass Transit Urban Gondola: Blue Line (Línea Azul)

Blue Line flying high in city of El Alto. Image by Mi Teleférico.

Blue Line flying high in city of El Alto. Image by Mi Teleférico.

March 3, 2017 marks a very special day not only in the highlands of Bolivia but in the world of Cable Propelled Transit (CPT). Known on social media as the “Great Blue Leap” (Spanish: #ElGrandSaltoAzul), the 5-station Blue Line (Spanish: Línea Azul) was officially opened for passenger service. The CPT system, built by Doppelmayr, is the 4th urban cable car that is a part of Mi Teleferico’s world leading gondola network.

Depending upon how a public transit ropeway is defined, initial estimates suggest that the Blue Line may be one of the longest mass transit urban gondolas in the world. Comparatively speaking, this system slightly edges out its closest Latin American counterparts by ~100-200m (Mexicable – 4.8km and Mariche Metrocable -4.8km).

Unlike the previous Red, Yellow and Green Lines, the Blue Line operates entirely in El Alto (world’s highest metropolis) and is the first system to be fully equipped with free wifi and security cameras in all cabins. Estimates suggest that the aerial lift will transport 30,000 passengers daily and benefit upwards of half a million residents in 18 neighbourhoods!

From a network perspective, the Blue Line effectively extends the Red Line’s reach deeper into El Alto. The 16 de Julio (Jach’a Qhathu) Station’s role is further strengthened as an interchange station. Already, the station’s ground floor is home to the Amauta Shopping Centre and a commercial area where passengers will walk through during a transfer.  At full build out, 16 de Julio will be one of two interchange stations where you can conveniently transfer onto three separate urban ropeways.

Mi-Teleferico-Map-March-2017

Map of Mi Teleférico at full build out. Image by Mi Teleférico.

Travelling westbound from 16 de Julio station, passengers arrive at Plaza Libertad Station. At this location, a cultural center for El Alto was built to complement and enhance site usage. Between Plaza Libertad Station, Plaza La Paz Station and Universidad Pública de El Alto (UPEA) Station, the cable car is built entirely within the traffic median of 16 de Julio Avenue. In fact, both the Plaza Libertad and Plaza La Paz Stations are built in the middle of a traffic circle. This stretch of the cable car demonstrates how CPT systems can be fitted nimbly and strategically within a city’s existing built form. As more urban cable cars are built, expect many more systems in the future to utilize this design strategy.  


At UPEA station, an estimate of 10,000 from the University’s 35,000+ student population are expected to fully take advantage of the gondola’s direct connection to the campus.

And finally, at the Blue Line’s western terminus is the Ex Rio Seco (Waña Jawtra) Station. An existing commercial area and an interprovincial bus stop are both located at this node, which undoubtedly enhance convenience and connectivity for passengers.

With the completion of the Blue Line, six more systems are left as part of the massive US$450 million Phase 2 investment plans. The next systems that are scheduled to open include the White and Orange Lines (Spanish: Línea Blanca and Línea Naranja) in late 2017. The White Line in early February 2017 was reportedly 60% complete.

As for the remaining cable cars, the Sky Blue Line (Spanish: Línea Celeste) and Purple Line (Spanish: Línea Morada) will open in 2018 while the Silver Line (Spanish: Línea Plateada) and Gold Line (Spanish: Línea Dorada) will open in 2019.

Overall, the Blue Line continues the mandate of the Bolivian government to modernize and improve its transport infrastructure. Just like the existing urban gondolas, the Blue Line is open for 17 hours each day and the fares are priced sensitively at US$0.40 (Bs 3) or US$0.30 (Bs 2) if a passenger is transferring from the Red Line.


20
Jan

2017

Photo of the Week: Mi Teleférico

Nosso amor nas alturas! #bolivia #lapaz #miteleferico #momentostensos #tarapidodemaisamor #kkkkk

A photo posted by Rafael Monteiro (@rafamonteiroco) on

19
Oct

2016

System Dossier: Mi Teleferico (La Paz-El Alto Cable Car)

Image by Flickr user Inhabitat

The Bolivian city of La Paz provides a model as to how cable propelled transit can be incorporated successfully into an urban environment. The sprawling metro was subject to a highly inefficient transit system unable to handle growing user demand.

Additionally, the chaotic traffic on the roads produced harmful noise and air pollution. Working together, the federal and municipal governments found an effective solution to curtail this pressing issue.

The publicly financed La Paz-El Alto Cable Car, known as Mi Teleferico, has been a wild success. The Doppelmayr built system, completed in 2014, consists of 3 MDG (monocable detachable gondola) lines, which cover a total distance of 10km. Navigating the mountainous terrain, the service reduces travel time significantly between the two cities.

Image by Flickr user David Baggins.

Image by Flickr user Inhabitat

In the system’s first two years of operations, it transported an incredible 43.2 million passengers with a daily record of 162,000 riders. In the year of 2015, Mi Teleferico has generated a profit of $21 million.

The incredible popularity has led project planners to expand the number of lines by 7; increasing the length of the network by more than 20 km. Mi Teleferico demonstrates how gondola systems can be an effective way to improve transportation in a busy metropolis.



LineLength (km)StationTravel Time (min)Capacity (pphpd)Speed (m/s)
Red (Linea Roja)2.43103,0005
Yellow (Linea Amarilla)3.9413.53,0005
Green (Linea Verde)3.7416.63,0005

Mi Teleférico / System Dossier
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26
Jul

2016

Drone Lays Cable for White Line (Linea Blanca)

Drone lays guide cable. Image by Mi Teleferico.

Drone lays guide cable. Image by Mi Teleferico.

Last Friday marked another impressive milestone for the rapidly growing urban cable car network in La Paz, Bolivia.

With the help of a drone, a guide cable was strung across section 2 (between Plaza Villarroel station and Plaza Triangular station) of the White Line (Spanish: Linea Blanca).

This task was completed ahead of schedule in just 7 hours with the help of more than 150 persons. Over the next week, progressively thicker cables will be strung across the alignment until the final 50mm steel cable is installed/spliced on August 5.

The entire project is moving ahead steadily as the electromechanical equipment for 2 stations (Plaza Villarroel and Monumento Busch) is already 100% complete while Plaza Triangular station is 80% complete.

Overall, the White Line is expected to open its doors to passengers by mid-2017.


Mi Teleférico
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18
Jul

2016

La Paz Announces New Urban Cable Car: Sky Blue Line (Linea Celeste)

This past week, President Evo Morales announced the development of another urban cable car on the Mi Teleferico. The Sky Blue Line (Spanish: Linea Celeste) will be the eighth gondola alignment in the city’s phase two plans, which effectively makes it the 11th line of the entire Doppelmayr-built cable car network.

Mi Teleferico - 8 Lines

Sky Blue Line (Linea Celeste). Image from Mi Teleferico.

Similar to the Purple Line, the Sky Blue Line will be built with higher specs than the initial the three initial cable lifts. Here are some confirmed stats:

  • Length: 2.7km
  • Stations: 4
  • Speed: 6 m/s
  • Capacity: 4,000 pphpd
  • Towers: 27
  • Cabins: 159
  • Travel Time: 11.8 minutes



While ridership numbers were not released, this line is expected to be one of the network’s busiest. And from a preliminary review, this will likely hold true since the Sky Blue system will intersect with two existing lines (Green and Yellow) and one future line (White).

Once built, the existing Libertador (Chuqui Apu) station — already the most travelled terminal with 5.2 million passengers per year — will enable passengers to transfer to three separate lines (Green, Yellow and Sky Blue).

Astute readers may notice that this week’s announcement calls for some modifications to the previously proposed phase 2 plans. In particular, there appears to be the following changes:

  1. The previous Sky Blue Line is now known as the Golden Line (Spanish: Linea Dorado)
  2. The new Sky Blue Line becomes a completely new system
  3. The White Line (Spanish: Linea Blanca) no longer terminates at Libertador station, rather it will connect with the new Sky Blue Line’s San Jorge interchange station.
Liberator Interchange Station. Image from Skyscrapercity.

Libertador (Chuqui Apu) interchange station. Image from Skyscrapercity.

San Jorge interchange station connects riders to the White and Sky Blue line. Image from Skyscrapercity.

San Jorge interchange station connects riders to the White Line and Sky Blue line. Image from Skyscrapercity.

As part of the news release, the President also confirmed the development of the Silver Line (Spanish: Linea Plateada) and announced the construction of the Park of Cultures and Mother Earth (Spanish: Parque de las Culturas y la Madre Tierra).

In total, these investments are estimated to cost $110 million.

 

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Mi Teleférico
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